Tamping Down the Inevitable

by Char Chaffin

By Char Chaffin
MSR, R, angst, AU vignette
Spoilers: Cancer Arc
Disclaimer: Clones on Loan
Dedication: This one's for Robin, since an email to her inspired it in the first place!

"Tamping Down the Inevitable"

He wanted light to fill the room, wanted to see her, all of her. Likewise she needed the dark, she felt shy, unsure of herself, of the way her body would appear to him. They compromised by pushing the curtains wide, the storm and the lightning outside a perfect backdrop for them. They lay near the windows on a comforter that he tugged off the bed. In the dark the flash of lightning outside alternately revealed, then hid, the contours of her thin body, the shadowed planes of arm, leg, hip. Her face was all angles and bones, her eyes beyond tired.

She was still so lovely, so very lovely to him; she'd never been anything less.

"Mulder, you -"

"Shhh. I want this. I need this, don't you? So much wasted time, Scully. This should have happened between us years ago. I lost you once; I don't want another minute to pass without telling you, showing you, how much I love you."

"I'm not... at my best, Mulder. I may not make it, this time. We have to face the facts here. I may not live out the rest of the year..." The words choked their way out of her throat and lay between them, heavy and unwelcome.

He pushed them aside with a decisive, "You're not going to die, Scully. You're not leaving me, not again. I won't allow it to happen."

In the flickering dim, her eyes held a tiny measure of hope that her voice refused to echo. "Are you saying you've found a way to cheat death? Do you think Death cares for your opinion, your feelings? That's rather arrogant, isn't it?"

He kissed her deeply; then murmured against her lips, "Yes, it is." He stared down into her eyes, added, "When it comes to you and your well-being, I'm the most arrogant son of a bitch on the planet. Sue me."

She had to chuckle just a little at his attitude, he looked so fierce. "I'll sue you later, Mulder. Right now I'd rather just love you... if that's all right with you. And you can... turn on the lights. I won't mind. I'd kind of like to see your body, too. Just to make sure this is real."

"Oh, it's real, never doubt it. This time it's real."

He rose and moved to the side of the bed; flicked on a small lamp. In the half-light his body gleamed, all rangy muscles and long legs, tight buttocks, wide shoulders. Mussed chocolate hair and five o'clock shadow.

How many times had she dreamed of this, of seeing him just like this? Naked and aroused, coming toward her with need in his eyes and hands that trembled as they reached for her. A groan bursting from that beautiful mouth of his when skin met skin and he sank to the floor beside her, touching her body, full contact at last. But in those dreams she was healthy, whole. Able to give to him all of the wonderful things she knew by instinct alone he'd give right back to her.

Instead she found herself curling into his arms not so much from lust but as a way to hide, even though she'd asked him to provide light. She buried her face in his neck; her arms wrapped around her own waist instead of his. Silence filled the room as he stroked her hair, held her as close as she'd allow. He was a patient man, this she knew; he would wait.

And suddenly it seemed ridiculous to her, that her insecurity should insinuate itself between them, when every minute was precious and ticked by on its own, never to be recaptured. Yet she couldn't stop herself. The difference between them had never been as pronounced as it now was; health versus illness, strength against weakness. Life pushing at Death...

"Scully. Stop. You're thinking too much." He bent over her until he could look in her face, a thumb tracing the dampness on her cheeks. He kissed an errant tear, murmured against it, "There's much we can't change in our lives, but this isn't one of them. It was inevitable that I would love you, want you for always. And though I refuse to believe in the inevitability of your cancer, I have to acknowledge its presence." He cupped her cheeks tenderly. "But I don't have to let it defeat you. Or me. And you don't have to allow it the upper hand, not right now. Tell me I'm right, like a good girl."

His voice held just enough of a tease that she smiled despite herself. Slowly she unwound her arms from her own body and slipped them around his shoulders. Just as slowly he brought her closer, until they were pressed together, skin to skin. When she again buried her face in his neck, no tears dampened the warm flesh there. Her lips curved and two words sighed their way into his ear.

"You're right."

He couldn't resist one last small tease. "Good girl."

Lamplight shone softly over the walls and lightning sparked though the windows as they stretched out on the comforter. Hands made shaky from tactile overload touched, caressed, stroked. Ardent lips followed, trailing along baby-soft skin and smooth, tight muscles. He kissed each small breast, learning her taste; the feel of her nipple as it puckered in his mouth, the gasp that broke from her throat when his fingers slid lower and found her damp core. In turn she pressed fevered palms over his back, sent inquisitive fingers down to his hips and around to where she could hold him, large and hard in her hands. So full of life... it seemed he had more than enough to share. When she whispered it hoarsely into his mouth, he groaned in agreement.

"I want your life, Mulder. Inside me... please."

"Yes. God, Scully... yes..."

She lay before him with open arms, open legs, love in her eyes and naked want on her lovely face. The contrast of her thin and pale body against his tanned flesh was suddenly exciting and not something to mourn, not now. In her weakness she found strength; he gave it to her when he slipped his hands beneath her narrow hips and pressed against her, probed carefully, entered eagerly. Broken phrases and half-words of love filled the quiet air between them as they strove to find just the right rhythm, the best sense of movement. Time spun out on a hazy thread of urgency and deliberation, of rushing kisses and endless caresses. Of deep piercing jabs and tender circling thrusts. Mouth to mouth and tongue against tongue. Entwined hands and hearts...

Everything they needed. All they wanted.

Thunder boomed out in the distance beyond their window, echoing the residual pounding of their hearts as their bodies cooled and rested. In a tangle of arms and legs they lay staring into eyes gone sleepy with satiation. He searched her face for signs of physical stress and found a measure of happiness in her eyes that had been missing for far too long. A smile of pride mingled with the kiss he pressed on her parted lips.

She couldn't resist. "I bet I know what you're thinking, Mulder. If you were a rooster you'd be crowing right about now."

He chuckled aloud. "Caught me. Yes, I'm enough of a Neanderthal to take immense pride in knowing I made my woman scream aloud when she came. Sue me."

His woman. It sounded wonderful, and it felt so good to laugh. "No, I'd rather waste time loving, than suing; I believe I mentioned that once before. Besides, I'd no doubt lose. I distinctly recall screaming at least once. Right before you did, in fact."

He raised an eyebrow. "I screamed? Really? Was it a girly scream or a low, manly grunt? I'd hate to think it was girly."

"Well, it was in fact quite girly, Mulder. But that's all right, since the sound of it made me feel absurdly... proud."

On that shared confession, nothing more needed to be said. They curled into each other's arms and set aside their immediate worries, letting sleep surround them and soothe them under.

Tomorrow would come soon enough and with it, all the issues they'd tamped down and thrown out into the storm that still brewed in the cold night. Tomorrow Death would come slinking back, demanding its fair share of acknowledgment, wanting to frighten, feeding from it.

But for now love had made them both young and strong and life was, in its own mysterious way, very good.


End note: Once more I find myself delving into cancer arc fic. Every time I think I'm done writing it, I seem to have another think coming!

Hope you enjoyed! As always I love hearing from you; email me anytime! char@chaffin.com

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